Even as he continues an already lengthy stay on the free agent market, star outfielder Bryce Harper is “not signing — or even considering — short-term deals,” according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link).
There has been some indication of late that some clubs may be pursuing Harper on less-than-lengthy contract terms. In particular, the Giants’ entry into the market for Harper seemed to raise the prospect of such an approach. By some accounts, at least, the San Francisco organization is not only a real potential suitor but is interested only in committing to Harper for a limited term.
Just where Harper and his camp are drawing the line isn’t clear. Regardless of the guaranteed term of an eventual contract, any deal is quite likely to come with complicated opt-in/opt-out arrangements, potentially including both club and player opportunities to lengthen or shorten the deal.
The parameters remain unclear. It does seem reasonable to conclude, though, that Harper won’t be amenable to offers premised on the idea of earning a big salary now while reentering the market at a still-youthful age. That possibility may well be contemplated in a contract, as noted above, but a longer background guarantee seems to be a necessary part of the picture as well.
Presumably, that indicates that Harper believes a suitably lengthy offer is still achievable. All indications are that the Phillies would still be amenable to a major commitment, though the team’s standing offer (if any) isn’t known. It seems the Nationals have withdrawn the ten-year, $300MM offer they originally dangled, though the team’s current threshold is not clear. Other teams that remain connected to Harper include the Padres and White Sox, with a few unspecified teams still rumored to be engaged on some level.